Concrete History: Chicana Muralist Judith F. Baca Goes from the Great Wall to the Museum Wall

Detail of the Great Wall of Los Angeles (1976–), by Judith F. Baca, showing 500,00 Mexican Americans Deported. COURTESY THE ARTIST AND SPARC, VENICE, CALIFORNIA

Detail of the Great Wall of Los Angeles (1976–), by Judith F. Baca, showing 500,00 Mexican Americans Deported. COURTESY THE ARTIST AND SPARC, VENICE, CALIFORNIA To get the best view of the painted mural known as the Great Wall of Los Angeles, you have to step through some underbrush, peek over a chain-link fence, and angle your gaze downward over the expanse of the Tujunga Wash. The mural stretches for half a mile along the concrete wall of the Wash, a tributary of the concrete-lined Los Angeles River. Tucked away in Valley Glen, a community in the San Fernando Valley, far from the glitz of Hollywood, the mural is an exuberantly colored sequence of images that begins with prehistoric times and ends in the 1950s. The sweeping narrative—the Wall’s official title is “The History of California”—opens with mastodons and saber-toothed tigers looking across a river, and across time, at […]